Unlike conventional educational concepts that are largely confined to classroom walls in which teaching and learning activities treat students as an object of a one-way transfer of knowledge, the concept of a nature school provides a learning and teaching experience (for students and also teachers) which pay attention to the essence of nature and use it as an infinite media of teaching and learning, with two-way communication between students and teachers.
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With help from various parties from teachers to educational experts in the Ministry of National Education, in her journey in the world of education, Anis Gunarso is gradually managed to translate in more detail by mapping out what elements are involved and must play an active role such as:
The school (especially teachers) is a partner of parents in an effort to educate children, not vice versa. Nevertheless, the quality of educators and methods of learning becomes the main focus for the school to prepare students as future leaders on earth (Khalifah fil Ardh). One of the efforts is to explore the potential of each child. In addition to formative education materials, schools apply learning methods that adapt to child development, in a more creative and attractive manner.
• Playgroup and Kindergarten levels. Students are taught to observe and study nature as a means of contextualizing classroom learning into reality through field trips or more concrete practices such as students conveying back and forth learning messages in works and appearances.
• Elementary levels. Character building by honing courage, independence, cooperation and caring of students.
• Junior levels. Training of Basic Leadership, independence and practice the problem solving skills.
• High school levels. The output target of high school students are the practice of entrepreneurship and hone the problem solving skills. Hopefully graduates students can establish their own business and open jobs for others.
Parents are directly responsible for their children. Parental involvement not only when enrolling to the school, attending the school hall and graduation ceremony or whatever is merely administrative, but through synchronizing the pattern of education for children both at home and the school. Another interesting point is the result of a semester study reported by the high school student themselves through presentation to their parents.
Students are treated as subject who have the opportunity to actualize themselves through a variety of activities that accommodate students to explore their potential, including the ability to lead their younger siblings, who have been honed since the students entered junior levels. Another interesting point is the result of a semester study reported by the high school student themselves through presentation to their parents.
Nature becomes the basis of learning methods in every level of education. Nature as a place where students pay attention and take lessons, also by students used as an unlimited source of creativity while maintaining it. One of the activities is sorting out organic-inorganic waste, making hand-crafted value added and beneficial for society and environment and making it one source of profit (especially high school students).
In addition to being nature-based, in creative and attractive ways, teachers teach their students how to "think and do" while keeping the students' character, interests and maturity level in line. Once again the focus is not only by guiding the child to study the literacy content and math, but also by encourage the students to experience all kinds of lessons directly through dialogue with nature, so as to boost the maturity of student thinking.
In one of the activities of kindergarten students when planting chili for example, the teacher not only teaches how to plant, but also instill the essence of life in every element that is used as a planting medium. Teachers give a simple language explanations, such as: Fertile soil is a soil that contains high humus or black-eyed with blackish texture with loose or hollow textures and no garbage, thus directing students to actively sort out organic and inorganic waste; Water is very important role as a source of life not only for humans and animals, but also for plants, because it contains minerals that are useful for the process of growing plants; Sunlight is very important to help the growth of plants. Finally and most importantly the teacher explains the role of the most powerful force (God) behind all of these important elements. This is what helps stimulate the student's spirituality aspect.
“Based on the existence of nature, Sekolah Citra Alam is a place whre students can explore in nature and make nature as an infinite source for learning.” Anis said.
Started with her attention (as a teacher as well as a mother) on the subject of student interest in learning, students generally feel more happy when the breaktime or class dismissed or a vacation time comes. Questions such as “Are the school activities fun for students? Is the teaching pattern inappropriate? Are the teaching contents not in line with student interests? Is the school facilities less able to accomodate the student’s activities?” and a bunch of other critical questions that Anis thought, led her to a concept of the school of nature. A concept that places students in positions that have a good quality and fun learning opportunities.
According to the Qur’an letter of Ar-Rum verse 41 with the translation “Mischief has appeared in the land and the sea because of what the hands of mankind have earned, that He may make them taste a part of that wich the have done, so that they may return (turn to Allah)”. It was the Word that became the ultimate source of inspiration for Anis who then translated it into the school vision.
1) Quality education
• To support the learning activities of children, all teachers can educate the students in different matters from basic literacy, basic skills to the implementation of advanced in the field.
• Through many learning-doing sessions, students’ logic sharpness is honed and lasts longer and even encouraged to influence people around.
• Of the one million children with special needs who are not attending school (National Socio-Economic Survey of The Central Bureau of Statistics in 2016), Sekolah Citra Alam contributes to the schooling of more than 30 children and will continue to increase at least one child per new class admission.
2) Climate action
• One to cope with climate change is to reduce the gap between human resistance to the average temperature rise of the climate itself by increasing adaptability. Through camping or outing or other outdoor activities, Sekolah Citra Alam teaches students early on to improve basic survival skills in the open nature.
3) Life on land
• Sekolah Citra Alam is consistent in maintaining and dominating greenland over building appeals in the school area.
• Students are taught to understand the fertile soil structure and area directly involved in the field in planting activities.
High quality educational methods which in the process of teaching and learning prioritize students' dialectics with teachers and action learning and supporting the sustainability of nature is an important thing that characterizes the Sekolah Citra Alam as a pioneer and become an important consideration for parents to choose Sekolah Citra Alam as "learning world " for their children. The proof is the increasing number of new classes for new students for each year.
With the objectives and educational methods of preparing students to be the future leaders who are responsible to social and nature, the school can provide the following benefits:
• Students have a balance of mentality between intellectual and spiritual aspect that is also able to adapt to the environment
• Through a creative economic program, students are honed to become entrepreneurs and to create jobs
• Accepting children with special needs with a share of 1 in 20 children for each class
• Participate in maintaining and preserving the fertility of agricultural land and expanding green areas
• Take an active role in protecting the environment in CSR activities in the surrounding areas through the separation of organic and inorganic waste
• Support the 3R program (reduce, reuse, recycle) by processing and empowering 3R items into the profit one
• Become a reference of activists in educational field until successfully registered in the curriculum by the National Education Office. Currently, at least more than other 57 schools have been established in Indonesia (Wikipedia – Jaringan Sekolah Alam Indonesia) which also uses the school of nature concept.
Anis Gunarso, activist
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Jl. Peace II No. 54 Ciganjur, Jagakarsa, South Jakarta, Indonesia
Business Website: www.citraalam.sch.id
Year Founded: 2001
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
In 2001 Anis Gunarso founded a Citra Alam School Foundation located at Jl. Peace II No. 54 Ciganjur, Jagakarsa, South Jakarta, Indonesia, which uses the concept of the school of nature for the first time in Indonesia. Citra Alam School is a solution for the school in applying the concept of education that is more creative and attract students, as well as solutions for parents who want their children to go to school with high quality education but affordable cost. In terms of budget management, Citra Alam School promotes the development of teacher quality and appropriate learning methods, rather than a building and facilities alone. That is why the building and facilities need a high cost requirement, replaced by the open nature as an infinite medium of learning.